Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

William and Kate meet Grenfell Tower fire survivors

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke with those affected by the 2017 blaze and other recent disasters.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet Grenfell Tower survivors (Victoria Jones/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet Grenfell Tower survivors (Victoria Jones/PA)

By Caitlin Doherty, PA

The Duke of Cambridge has said that donations and support after the Grenfell Tower fire “seemed like it wasn’t well targeted”, during a meeting with victims.

William and the Duchess of Cambridge spoke with those affected by the 2017 blaze and other recent disasters – including the Manchester arena bombing and Cumbria floods – on Thursday.

bpanews_ad35717e-0783-4822-8b86-9e83bba4a09c_embedded248160971
The Duke of Cambridge at the launch of the National Emergencies Trust (Victoria Jones/PA)

William said: “It takes so long to get back to normal again.

“Following Grenfell there was a huge outpouring of support but it seems like it wasn’t well targeted.”

William, along with his grandmother, the Queen, visited the site in west London in the days following the fire in June 2017.

bpanews_ad35717e-0783-4822-8b86-9e83bba4a09c_embedded231714419
The Queen met members of the community in the days after the fire in 2017 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Natasha Elcock, chairwoman of Grenfell United, was one of the last people rescued alive from the fire, and she told William and Kate: “So many people sent clothes and food, but at the time we had absolutely no place to put them.

“No home, no cupboard, and no fridge.”

Kate also demonstrated her support, adding: “It’s not just the support provided at the time, but how it’s continued in the future.”

The royals met the victims at the launch of new charity, the National Emergencies Trust (NET).

In a speech following their private meeting, William said: “I’m impressed about how willing the charity sector has been to learn the lessons from previous responses, and to ensure that the quickest and most appropriate support is offered to those affected.”

He added: “It has been humbling to speak to survivors of the London Bridge and Manchester attacks, the Cumbria floods, the Grenfell Tower fire and other disasters here in the UK.

“Their stories are as heartbreaking as they are inspiring.”

Survivors welcomed the Cambridges’ input.

bpanews_ad35717e-0783-4822-8b86-9e83bba4a09c_embedded248161030
Those affected by the tragedies were pleased to meet the duchess (Victoria Jones/PA)

Karim Mussilhy lost relatives in the fire, and said of the duke and duchess: “You can tell they’ve taken a big interest, not only in our tragedy, but making sure that when something like this does happen again, there is something in place for the survivors.”

He described the fire’s aftermath as “really chaotic in the early days.

“We had all of these great donations from people all across the country and people were really, really generous, but it wasn’t being co-ordinated by anybody.”

NET has been established following the numerous disasters in 2017, and aims to manage fundraising and distribution more efficiently following emergencies.

Chaired by cross-bench peer Lord Dannatt, the organisation will launch national appeals on TV and social media in the event of crises, and then allocate and distribute money to those affected.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph